Sandlin Congratulates Gohmert, Says Fight Not Over - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Sandlin Congratulates Gohmert, Says Fight Not Over

The party began when the polls closed at 7 last night.

That's also when the anxiety began, as supporters of Congressman Max Sandlin waited for early voting numbers to come in.

Soon, it was apparent Sandlin was far behind in the vote count. As the night wore on, challenger Louie Gohmert consistently led by about 30 percent.

At one point, Sandlin went into a closed-door meeting with his campaign staff, leaving behind tension and tears.

But just after 10 p.m., the Congressman emerged. Supporters cheered him on: "Max, Max, Max, Max, Max!"

"First off, I want to say thanks to each of you, all of you as a group and all of you individually, for being such good supporters, such good helpers throughout this campaign," Sandlin said.

He said his defeat was not entirely unexpected: "This vote is a result of an illegal, unconstitutional redistricting plan by Tom Delay and his cronies."

Sandlin hopes a district court will reverse the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to uphold the state's redistricting lines.

"No matter what happens tonight, we'll be facing special election in the spring or summer, or we'll be facing an election under new district lines in 2006," Sandlin said. "We're going to continue this fight. And this is a long way from being over tonight. Thank y'all for having me."

Sandlin did not congratulate Gohmert during his speech, but did when we talked to him afterward: "I want to take this opportunity to congratulate my opponent, throwing a good campaign, getting good numbers. He needs to be congratulated for that, for his efforts."

A difficult loss for a mother to watch: "Of course, it's sad," Margie Sandlin said. "But Max gave a wonderful, wonderful speech. It really wasn't especially a concession speech, but about his plans for the future and what might happen in the Texas Legislature."

Supporters say they'll be back to help Sandlin win the next election.

Sandlin won only two of the 13 counties in District 1. Those were Cass and Marion County.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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